- Find out who the hiring managers are at companies you would like to work at and then treat them to lunch! Managers get tons of resumes from tons of people on a daily basis. Hardly any stand out on paper, so this is your chance to shine and make a lasting impression. Reach out to the manager to “network”. Don’t ask for an interview or even intimate that you are on the market. Once you exchange a few email and perhaps a phone call to introduce yourself, suggest you meet for lunch. Then you can use this opportunity to let the manager talk about the company, their department and any hiring needs they may have. When you have your cue, mention that you might be interested in learning about any opportunities. At this point, give them a Resume Card, not an actual paper resume. If your card is designed right, it will have just enough information and key points to make you shine. But don’t leave it there. Follow up thanking them for their time and offer to forward a resume “just in case”. Then KEEP IN TOUCH. You don’t want them to forget about you.
- Say you’re a Graphic Designer looking for work or freelance projects. Here’s a tip someone share with me. Wish I could take credit but I can’t. Do a search of Creative Director or Art Director job ads. Follow them until you know they are filled. About a month after it is filled, reach out to the new person in the position and introduce yourself. Get to know them and make sure to let them know you do graphic design and that you are available for freelance or project work. Ask to send a link to your online portfolio (which you will no doubt have because you ARE a professional, right?). Then follow up ever so often to establish a trusting relationship. Of course the rules differ slightly from position type to position type. But you get the gist of it.
- Try the unthinkable. A few months back, I posted about a former Wall Street employee who was at his wits end. He had lost his job and had to send his family to stay with his wife’s parents so he could find work in NYC. Well, this gentleman, feeling he had nothing to lose, would go out into downtown Manhattan and hand out copies of his resume. He also had one of those “Job Wanted” sandwich boards made. Well after almost a year, he got a job because his tactic worked. Now I’m not saying do anything that will degrade you or make you feel uncomfortable. But as the title of that blog entry said Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures. His tactics got him coverage in the Wall Street Journal, among other media outlets and it netted him a job.
- Think Bond. James Bond. You have an arsenal at your fingertips that you take for granted every day.
Remember the old Get Smart episodes where he’d get a message and after the message played, it said that the tape would self destruct? No, I’m not suggesting sending a tape or CD that will actually self destruct. But I am saying follow that lead. Everyone send resumes. We live in the YouTube age. Many computers have the capability to play video, CD and DVD. Why not put together an homage of your past experience? This would go over well for the more creative type jobs. But who says only the creatives get to have fun? A long, long time ago, I had to take a series of temp jobs to get back on track financially. I decided to register with an agency and take an Admin job. Well I put together a CD with an overview of my “experience” (had to exaggerate a little because I was a Recruiter, not an Admin) and it culminated in the top 10 reasons why they should hire me. I later found out it was between me and two other ladies. I won out because of my CD. And even long after I left that temp job, the manager kept it on his desk as a reminder! You can break out your webcam, fire up Microsoft’s Windows Media Maker (which is free and already installed in most PCs) or use a media maker on Mac, and burn baby burn. My teenage son has put together his own football highlight tape using his laptop. Why can’t you do the same? Don’t forget to make an eye catching label and cover.
- Drop the pride. We all have an ideal image of the perfect type of position. But in times of job scarcity, you have to adapt and accommodate. You must be willing to step out of your norm to try new jobs. The more flexible you are, the better chance you’ll have to find a job. Now don’t resign to just taking “anything”. But keep your options flexible and open.
- Pay per interview. Hold on. It’s not what you think. If you’re out of a job, chances are you don’t have funds to “pay” for an interview of any kind. But hear me out. A young man, Javier Pujals, came up with an idea of paying per interview. The pricing structure is based on actual real jobs posted and priced per level (HR, Managers/Directors, CEO/President). He gets 20 minutes of uninterrupted interview time with one of the above mentioned. The money he “pays” will go to an agreed upon legitimate charity. He set up a website to chronicle his journey. http://www.buyaninterview.com He is being very innovative and socially responsible.
- Big companies not hiring? Well position yourself as a consultant. Attend industry events and market yourself as a “business”. Consultants in a sense are their own business. If you’re an Accounting whiz, hire yourself out to handle overflow from accounting firms. Tax time is a great time to contract yourself out if you specialize in taxes. If you’re more of a general bookkeeper, you can sell yourself to handle bookkeeping for small businesses, or take overflow of other bookkeeping businesses. There are opportunities out there.
- Recognize that social media and web 2.0 is dated. EVERYBODY (including me) uses Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, etc. There is nothing new or innovative about social networking any more. But you can do something to make yourself stand out from the crowd.Tap into your creativity. Know that recruiters are watching these mediums. Get out front and get seen.
- Dress up everyday in your best interview attire and go hang out downtown. Pay attention to the people who frequent certain hot spots like the local coffee shop or restaurant. Get a feel for who all goes in there on a daily basis. Once you’ve done your research, ask the shop or restaurant owner if you could host a group meeting there and advertise it with flyers. You can put together your own “lunch and learn” and pick topics that would appeal to people and show off your professional knowledge. Or you could start a lunch meet up type thing. Reach out to the “regulars” and let them know that you are interested in starting a Lunch Up. Invite them to join you and bring co-workers. You get to network, meet new people and share your knowledge. Pretty extreme, but it works! But DON’T go begging for a job. It’s ok to let them know you are passively on the market. But don’t beat them over the head with it.
- Get some resume cards made. I create these for clients so reach out to me for more details. A resume card is better than a resume, especially if you include your Linked In profile on it. They allow you to give people a brief overview of who you are and takes away the awkwardness of carrying around resumes. You can think of them as your own business cards. When you run into someone who’s worth networking with, you won’t have to say “I don’t have any cards”. Who says only the employed should have business cards? Hand them out with care and be sure to use a P.O. Box address instead of your home address (for safety).
- Volunteer. You can volunteer your time and expertise to non profits. Keep in mind, CEOs and major decision makers often serve on boards of non profits. This is your opportunity to give back and get to know the CEO or decision maker of companies you’d be interested in working with. Now don’t volunteer for the sole purpose of connecting with a decision maker. That’s not genuine and people can spot a fraud a mile away. Approach volunteering with a pure heart and give it 110%. You never know who’s watching and where opportunities can lead.
- Chronicle your job search (tactfully) in a blog. Then promote that blog. If nobody sees it, how will they know of your creativity?
Step back and think about the times we live in. Every day, the media, much like a cuckoo clock pops out announcing “thousands of jobs cut, thousands of jobs cut!”. There is a fine line between clever and stupid. Carefully plan out your tactics and make sure you don’t offend, harass or embarrass. The goal is to capture the attention of those who may be in a position to hire you. Let them see your ingenuity, not view you as a sophomoric college prankster. Multiple strategies will net you more leads than just relying on one or two. Combine your “extreme tactics” with traditional ones. It’s nobody’s job to find you a job.
Til next time.